Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Intimidating Wine Factor

I had a fun experience the other night. I went to a wine dinner featuring the Francis Ford Coppola Winery at Spezia. It was a dinner filled with fabulous foods matched to excellent wines. What was so enjoyable about this wine dinner is that the wine selections were matched to the various dinner courses and were presented by a representative of the Winery who gave a very interesting commentary of the Coppola Winery and it's owner. That and the fact that I enjoyed the evening with old and new found friends.

My first experience with wine was at a college party when I was offered a glass of Ripple by a boy of  dubious world experience in fine dining. Ripple should not really be classified as a wine, now should it? But back then what did a bunch of young college kids know about wine. It was the fun party factor they were going after.  It was cheap and came in many flavors. I do remember the thought that it was disgusting, however. Beer was so much better.

I am no connoisseur of fine wine. In fact, the selection of wine can be quite intimidating. Should you drink white wine with your dinner selection, or would red be better. What goes with fish and what goes with beef. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. I like what I like with what I like eating. I tend to shy away from red wine because it can pack a heck of a migraine headache for someone susceptible to such a thing. That's why I believe white wine goes with everything and no one is going to change my mind.

One of my dear friends in Virginia Beach, who I knew to be a beer lover all his life, has now joined a wine club. He has embraced this new found hobby with gusto. He talks about wine like he knows what he is talking about. I look at him in awe. I ventured out to find a couple bottles of wine to go with the dinner he was preparing one night. He is an excellent cook, by the way. The novice that I am, I spent time looking at the descriptions, the ratings, the "essence of flavors." I was of the opinion that good wine meant you had to spend a bit of coin on it. I was going to present him with my excellent choices of wine for the evening.

I walked in proudly with my purchases and presented the wines to him. He had never heard of them but as a member of this new wine club, he was definitely into experiencing new wines. One word describes the experience of my selections. I took one taste of the first wine, and new immediately it was horrible. But I figured, I am the beer and jack girl, not the wine connoisseur. What did I know. I only knew it cost me  a bundle. He looked at me and said, well, it's not too bad, with this kind of pucker in his lips as he attempted to swallow it. We poured the bottle down the drain.  We tried the next bottle. Same result. Cha ching! At that moment, I knew what I knew all along.  I know nothing about wine and I should not tackle the intimidating factor of selecting wine.

A valuable lesson learned. A relatively inexpensive wine that you love is better than some hoity toity wine that you hate and costs you a small fortune. You have to work hard at being a wine connoisseur. I can think of many other things I want to work hard at and being a wine expert is not one of them. I am my own wine connoisseur.  I am going to look the waitress in the eye and tell her confidently that I want the house Reisling and I want it with my red meat.

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